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Prognostication of Erra Pater, 1565, printed by Colwell, the unlucky days vary from these of Grafton.'
I find an observation on the 13th of December in the ancient Romish Calendar, which I have so often cited (Decemb. xiii. prognostica mensium per totum annum), that on this day prognostications of the months were drawn for the whole year. As also, that on the day of St. Barnabas, and on that of St. Simon and St. Jude, a tempest often arises. In the Schola Curiositatis, ii. 236, we read : “Multi nolunt opus inchoare die Martis tanquam infausto die.”
Many superstitious observations on days may be found in a curious old book called Practica Rusticorum, which I suspect to be an earlier edition of the Husbandman's Practice, 1658, at the end of the Book of Knowledge of the same date.
In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical account of Scotland, v. 82, !793, the minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, mentioning the superstitious opinions and practices in the parish, says: “In this parish, and in the neighbourhood, a variety of superstitions practices still prevail among the vulgar, which may be in part the remains of ancient idolatry, or of the corrupted Christianity of the Romish church, and partly, perhaps, the result of the natural hopes and fears of the human mind in a state of simplicity and ignorance. Lucky and unlucky days are by many anxiously observed. That day of the week upon which the 14th of May happens to fall, for instance, is esteemed unlucky through all the remainder of the year; none marry or begin any business upon it. None chuse to marry in January or May; or to have their banns proclaimed in the end of one quarter of the year and to marry in the be(“January. Prima dies mensis, et septima truncat ut ensis.
February. Quarta subit mortem, prosternit tertia fortem.
Aubrey's Miscellanies, p. 8.]
ginning of the next. Some things are to be done before the full moon ; others after. In fevers the illness is expected to be more severe on Sunday than on the other days of the week; if easier on Sunday, a relapse is feared.” In the same work, vii. 560, Parishes of Kirkwall and St. Ola, co. Orkney, we read : “In many days of the year they will neither go to sea in search of fish, nor perform any sort of work at home.” Ibid. viii. 156, Parish of Canisbay, co. Caithness, we are told, under the head of Dress, Customs, &c., “ There are few superstitious usages among them. No gentleman, however, of the name of Sinclair, either in Canisbay or throughout Caithness, will put on green apparel, or think of crossing the Ord, upon a Monday. They were dressed in green and they crossed the Ord upon a Monday, in their way to the battle of Flodden, where they fought and fell in the service of their country, almost without leaving a representative of their name behind them. The day and the dress are accordingly regarded as inauspicious. If the Ord must be got beyond on Monday, the journey is performed by sea.”!
The Spaniards hold Friday to be a very unlucky day, and never undertake anything of consequence upon it. Among the Finns, whoever undertakes any business on a Monday or Friday must expect very little success.
And yet, from the following extract from Eradut Khan's Memoirs of the Mogul Empire, p. 10, it should seem to appear that Friday is there considered in a different light: “On Friday, the 28th of Zekand, his Majesty (Aurengzebe) performed his morning devotions in company with his attendants ; after which, as was frequently his custom, he exclaimed : O that my death may happen on a Friday, for blessed is he who dieth on that day !'”
· So, xiv. 541, Parish of Forglen, Banffshire : “ There are happy and unhappy days for beginning any undertaking. Thus few would choose to be married here on Friday, though it is the ordinary day in other quarters of the church.” Ibid. xv. 258, Parish of Monzie, co. Perth ; The inhabitants are stated to be not entirely free of superstition. Lucky and unlucky days, and feet, are still attended to, especially about the end and beginning of the year No person will be proclaimed for marriage in the end of one year, or even quarter of the year, and be married in the beginning of the next.” Ibid. xxi. 148: “Lucky and unlucky days, dreams, and omens, are still too much observed by the country people : but in this respect the meanest Christian far surpasses, in strength of inind, Gibbon's all-accomplished and philosophic Julian.”
Fynes Moryson, in his Itinerary, i. 61, speaking of the King of Poland at the port of Dantzic in 1593, says: next day the king had a good wind, but before this (as those of the Romish religion are very superstitious), the king and the queen (being of the house of Austria), while sometimes they thought Monday, sometimes Friday, to be unlucky days, had lost many fair winds."
[The following curious extract is taken from a rare tract, called the Animal Parliament, 1707 : “ That none must be thought good lawyers and docters, but those which will take great fees. That all duty and submission belongs to power, not to vertue. That all must have ill luck after much mirth. That all those that marry on Tuesdays and Thursdays, shall be happy. That a man's fortune can be rold in the palme of his hand. That the falling of salt portends misfortune. Those that begin journies upon a Wednesday shall run through much danger. That all women that are poor, old, and illfavoured must be thought witches, and be burnt for the same. That the houling of a dog, or croaking of ravens, foretell a friend's death.”]
TIME OF THE MORNING SO CALLED.
BOURNE, in his Antiquitates Vulgares, tells us, there is a tradition among the common people that, at the time of cockcrowing, the midnight spirits forsake these lower regions, and go to their proper places. Hence it is that in the country villages, where the way of life requires more early labour, the inhabitants always go cheerfully to work at that time: whereas if they are called abroad sooner, they are apt to imagine everything they see or hear to be a wandering ghost. Shakespeare has given us an excellent account of this vulgar notion in his Hamlet.' Bourne very seriously examines the fact, whether
| What follows, in this passage, is an exception from the general time of cock-crowing:
“Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes,
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
spirits roam about in the night, or are obliged to go away at cock-crow ; first citing from the Sacred Writings that good and evil angels attend upon men; and proving thence also that there have been apparitions of good and evil spirits. He is of opinion that these can ordinarily have been nothing but the appearances of some of those angels of light or darkness : “for," he adds, “I am far from thinking that either the ghosts of the damned or the happy, either the soul of a Dives or a Lazarus, returns here any more.” Their appearance in the night, he goes on to say, is linked to our idea of apparitions. Night, indeed, by its awfulness and horror, naturally inclines the mind of man to these reflections, which are much heightened by the legendary stories of nurses and old women.
The traditions of all ages appropriate the appearance of spirits to the night. The Jews had an opinion that hurtful spirits walked about in the night. The same opinion obtained among the ancient Christians, who divided the night into four watches, called the evening, midnight, cock-crowing, and the morning. The opinion that spirits fly away at cock-crow is certainly very ancient, for we find it mentioned by the Christian poet Prudentius, who flourished in the beginning of the fourth century, as a tradition of common belief. The passage is thus translated in Bourne :
“ They say the wandering powers that love
The silent darkness of the night,
And all in fear do take their flight.
Th' approach divine of hated day,
And drives the midnight ghosts away.
This bird of dawning singeth all night long
Dr. Farmer, citing Bourne in this place, says :
« And he quotes on this occasion, as all his predecessors had done, the well-known lines from the first hymn of Prudentius. I know not whose translation he gives us, but there is an old one by Heywood. The pious chansons, the hymns and carols which Shakespeare mentions presently, were usually copied from the elder Christian poets.' Cassian, also,' who lived in the same century, mentioning a host of devils who had been abroad in the night, says, that as soon as the morn approached, they all vanished and fled away; which further evinces that this was the current opinion of the time. Philostratus, giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' shade to Apollonius Tyaneus, says, that it vanished with a little glimmer as soon as the cock crowed. Vit. Apol. iv. 16. The following is from Spenser:
The morning cock crew loud ;
And vanish'd from our sight.”
“ The cock crows and the morning grows on,
When 'tis decreed I must be gone."
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.” Bourne tells us he never met with any reasons assigned for the departure of spirits at the cock-crowing; “but," he adds, “there have been produced at that time of night things of very memorable worth, which might perhaps raise the pious credulity of some men to imagine that there was something more in it than in other times. It was about the time of cock-crowing when our Saviour was born, and the angels sung the first
I "Aurora itaque superveniente, cum omnis hæc ab oculis evanisset dæmonum multitudo." Cass. Coll. viii. c. 16. Thus the Ghost in Hamlet :
“But soft, methinks I scent the morning air
Brief let me be." And again :
“ The glow-worm shows the matin to be near."